eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2008   Volume No 16 – pages 40-46

Title:Exercise does not affect stiffness and mineralisation of third metacarpal condylar subarticular calcified tissues in 2 year old thoroughbred racehorses

Author: VL Ferguson, AJ Bushby, EC Firth, PGT Howell, A Boyde

Address:Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London, London E1 1BB, UK.

E-mail: a.boyde at

Key Words: calcified cartilage, subchondral bone, exercise, mechanical properties, mineralisation

Publication date: September 17th 2008

Abstract: Impact exercise has a profound effect in increasing volumetric density of epiphyseal bone, as clearly shown in 2 year old thoroughbred racehorses from which we derived the tissue studied in the present investigation. Here, we asked the question whether the fabric-level properties of the mineralised tissues immediately below hyaline articular cartilage which transmit the extra loads are themselves altered in consequence.

We therefore studied the nanoindentation elastic modulus and its relationship to the concentration of mineral determined by quantitative backscattered electron imaging in the heavily loaded palmar medial and lateral condyles of the distal third metacarpal bone (Mc3) of 4 untrained and 4 trained 2-year old Thoroughbred racehorses.

We found no difference between trained and untrained horses in either subchondral bone or calcified cartilage in the mean stiffness or mineral content or their correlation. Thus neither articular calcified cartilage nor the immediately adjacent subchondral bone were affected by exercise, even though they transmitted the higher load associated with athletic training through to the deeper bone, which itself responded floridly to exercise. Under the circumstances of this experiment and at least in the very small regions studied, therefore, the structure of these two tissues was apparently optimised to function.


Article download: Pages 40-46 (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v016a05